Cablegate: Nato-Russia: Secretary General's Trip to Moscow

Published: Mon 21 Dec 2009 03:02 PM
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1. (U) Below is a written summary provided by Secretary
General Rasmussen of his December 15-17 visit to Moscow. The
SecGen's schedule included meetings with President Medvedev,
Premier Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Security
Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and Russian
Parliamentarians. He also visited NATO's Information Office
and Military Liaison Mission in Moscow and gave a speech at
the Moscow State Institute of International Relations
(MGIMO). We will report septel regarding how Allies will
follow-up on the SecGen's visit.
2. (U) Text of written summary:
3. (SBU) My visit to Moscow took place in a constructive and
forward-looking atmosphere. I met with President Medvedev,
Prime Minister Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Secretary
of the Security Council Patrushev, the Chairman of the
Federation Council Mironov, and the Chairman of the State
Duma Gryzlov. I found my interlocutors well disposed to
cooperation with NATO, and ready for a constructive dialogue
on a wide range of issues, including on those where we
4. (SBU) I delivered the following messages to Moscow: Russia
is one of my top priorities as NATO Secretary General. Allies
remain committed to improving relations, as well as
broadening cooperation in the NRC. NATO and Russia are now
facing common threats and challenges, in particular in
Afghanistan and stemming from issues such as terrorism,
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy.
Therefore, we need to unite our efforts in order to face them
more efficiently. The Joint Review on 21st Century Common
Security Challenges will allow us to identify our common
threats. Based on the Review, we can proceed to broaden our
practical cooperation using the new and reinvigorated NRC
structure. I underlined that timely and efficient
implementation of the three Ministerial deliverables will be
crucial and that we rely on the full and productive
engagement of the Russian side in this process.
5. (SBU) My interlocutors underscored their commitment to the
full-fledged resumption of NATO-Russia relations and their
intention to quickly and effectively implement the three
deliverables agreed by NRC Foreign Ministers on 4 December.
Russia seems ready to broaden and deepen cooperation with
NATO, including in the military sphere, despite current
disagreements on some key issues.
6. (SBU) With regard to Afghanistan, I underscored the need
to strengthen our cooperation and asked Russia for further
contributions in three concrete areas:
7. (SBU) First, a comprehensive helicopter package: I asked
my interlocutors to consider donations of helicopters to the
Afghan National Army. Training of Afghan helicopter pilots by
Russian instructors within the NRC framework could be an
additional useful contribution. Additionally, I proposed that
Russia consider the provision of helicopter spare parts,
maintenance and fuel as part of such a package.
8. (SBU) Second, based on the on-going Russian assistance to
Afghan security forces, I asked Moscow to consider expanding
training of Afghan police forces in its centers of
excellence, within the framework of the NRC.
9. (SBU) Third, building on the successful experience of the
NRC Project on Counter-Narcotics Training of Afghan and
Central Asian Personnel, consider expanding further the scope
of the Project by following up on the Afghan authorities'
request for longer in-country training of counter-narcotics
10. (SBU) I underlined that a positive reaction by the
Russian Federation would underscore our joint commitment to
contributing to the Afghan Government's efforts aimed at the
stabilization of the country, as well as highlighting the new
and constructive atmosphere in the NATO-Russia Council. I
also urged the Russian side to consider NATO's June 18
invitation to re-deploy one ship in Operation ACTIVE
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11. (SBU) President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and
Minister Lavrov all agreed with the need to do more on
Afghanistan, and underscored Russia's determination to
support the NATO's ISAF mission (sic). President Medvedev
tasked the relevant Russian agencies to consider my concrete
proposals for additional contributions. Minister Lavrov was
optimistic about possibilities related to joint training of
Afghan police, and an eventual extended in-country
counter-narcotics training of the Afghan security forces. He
was, however, more cautious on the feasibility for a positive
decision on the "helicopter package". Prime Minister Putin
underlined that if NATO expected donations, this would have
effect on the budget of the Ministry of Defence, something
which would take time to sort out. Still, he affirmed that
the proposals would be given serious consideration.
12. (SBU) All interlocutors asked NATO to consider positively
CSTO's request for establishing formal relations with NATO,
and referred to the fact that several allies already
participate as observers to CSTO's annual drug interdiction
operation "Kanal" conducted on Afghanistan's Northern border.
Furthermore, Minister Lavrov signaled that Russia would
expect to participate in relevant meetings, such as those
conducted in the 28 5 1 format, although he did not
explicitly mention participation in ISAF meetings. Lavrov and
President Medvedev further suggested possible joint logistics
cooperation in repairing the tunnel on the Uzbek-Afghan
border. Minister Lavrov underlined that next year's London
conference should be used better in terms of raising more
tangible contributions for Afghanistan, and in terms of
emphasizing the regional dimension also by broader inclusion
of China and India.
13. (SBU) President Medvedev underscored Russia's interest in
pursuing cooperation on counter-piracy with NATO, but did not
specify how. On Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, Minister Lavrov
reiterated that there are no political obstacles to Russia's
reintegration, although a deployment has not been envisioned
in 2010 for budgetary reasons. However, ships transiting the
Mediterranean for anti-piracy duty off Somalia could possibly
participate in OAE on short-term basis.
14. (SBU) Turning to more contentious issues in our
relations, I reiterated the Alliance positions on Georgia,
CFE and NATO's Open Door policy. I maintained that the Open
Door Policy has actually benefited Russia by providing
stability along its Western borders and increased economic
opportunities. I emphasized the need to be creative and
forward-looking in seeking mutually acceptable solutions to
these issues. I pointed out that activities, such as the
recent large scale military exercises did not contribute to
the climate of transparency and confidence building we have
been aiming for since our joint decision to re-launch NRC
15. (SBU) President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and
Minister Lavrov all spoke about what Russian authorities
perceive as continued military build-up by Georgia, with the
assistance of some Allies, which, they claimed, undermined
stability in the region. Prime Minister Putin pointed out
that the Russian troops that had "suppressed" the Georgian
aggression had long left the territory of Georgia beyond
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and, that Russia had fulfilled
its commitments under the cease-fire agreement. Further, he
maintained that the EU commissioned report had concluded that
Georgia started the August 08 war. Approximately 100 Russian
peacekeepers had been killed, and in his view Russia had had
no option but to act.
16. (SBU) On NATO's Open Door policy, Minister Lavrov pointed
out that while Russia respected the OSCE principle that all
states are free to choose their security affiliations,
Article 10 of the Washington Treaty was a product of the
run-up to the Cold War and NATO should consider its
implications in the current European context. Georgia's
perception, rightly or wrongly, that the country was well on
its way to NATO membership had only encouraged irresponsible
behavior. The Foreign Ministers' recent decisions on MAP with
regard to Bosnia Hercegovina and Montenegro were not
mentioned by any interlocutors.
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17. (SBU) As regards the new Russian draft 'Agreement on
Basic Principles governing Relations Among NRC Members in the
Security Sphere', presented by Minister Lavrov at the NRC
Foreign Ministers' meeting, as well as the draft European
security treaty initiated by President Medvedev, it struck me
that Minister Lavrov appeared to be very well-informed about
the contents of our confidential discussion at 28 that we had
at the beginning of this week. I informed the Russian side
that Allies were now examining closely these drafts. I also
pointed out that Allies questioned the need to re-cast in a
legally binding form already existing joint commitments, such
as the indivisibility of security, which are contained in
documents such as the 1999 Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE
Charter, as well as in the Founding Act and the Rome
Declaration. Therefore, the existing security arrangements in
Europe provide a comprehensive and sufficient framework in
which each country's security interests can be addressed
18. (SBU) Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Putin explained that Russia
was seeking legally binding documents, as, in their view, the
existing political assurances were not sufficient in
preventing, for example, last year's Georgian aggression on
Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In relation to the draft NRC
agreement, Minister Lavrov pointed out that Russia had long
sought to define "substantial combat forces" referred to in
the Founding Act. Following the Alliance's long-standing
reluctance to do it, Russia felt compelled to suggest a
starting point for such negotiations. He added that Russia
would be ready to renew negotiations on the Parallel Action
Package and the future of the CFE regime. Minister Lavrov
also noted, however, that Russia was not considering a
resumption of its obligations under the CFE at the current
19. (SBU) Prime Minister Putin, in his turn, tied the need
for progress on CFE to the proposed European Security Treaty.
He led me to understand that lack of progress on the CFE
front had forced Moscow to table the proposed treaty on
European Security, as it in his view was clear that Allies
have no legal reason not to ratify the CFE treaty, but had
made a political decision not to do so. END TEXT.
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